T aken in 2008 told the story of an ex CIA operative, Bryan Mills, who tracks his daughter, Kim, after she has been kidnapped by human traffickers in Paris. The film written and produced by the prodigiously talented Luc Besson ( Nikita , The Fifth Element ) and directed by Pierre Morel ( From Paris With Love ) was tough and taut and oozed continental style.

Casting Liam Neeson as an action hero was a good move because having a toughie with the requisite acting chops, a tragic face and a lovely beefy body elevated the movie to another level. Then there was this whole playing to our secret fears of losing loved ones in a foreign land and scary unknown villains. The omniscient hero who is not above a dash of torture setting things right made for glorious escapist fare.

Taken 2 is set in scintillating Istanbul but is very, very lazy. The families of the kidnappers who Mills disposed off in a variety of painful ways in the original swear revenge. Meanwhile Mills’ wife Lenore’s second marriage is on the verge of collapse. Mills invites ex-wife and bratty daughter to Istanbul to take the chill pill and forget all unpleasantness—oooh la la we are so refined n’est pas?

After establishing shots of the blue mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Grand Bazaar, things get all horrid with grisly torture, car chases and some super cool mapping and communication devices. All comes right in the end. The movie is watchable because of Istanbul and Neeson who plays Mills with the right blend of good acting, earnestness and incandescent superstar sheen. Mills tells a character towards the end that he is tired doing this, one hopes it is a promise that there wouldn’t be another sequel.

m a c

TAKEN 2

Genre: Action

Director:Olivier Megaton

Cast:Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Rade Šerbedžija

Plot:The Mills family are in trouble again

Bottomline:Serviceable action but ultimately unnecessary movie